There’s a nutrient deficiency crisis in America

Look at any standard nutrition label, and you’ll see how much of the daily percentage of vitamins and minerals a food will give you.

Typically, it’s pretty easy to consume 100% of the essential vitamins and minerals these labels outline. Meaning, you’ve achieved the daily recommended amount.

But, there’s a big problem with these recommendations on the label. And it’s contributing to a nutrient deficiency crisis in America.

You see, the percentage of daily value on all nutrition labels is based on a 2,000-calorie diet. In other words, these labels provide just one number for everyone — regardless of age, gender, location or pregnancy.

Simply put, the nutritional needs for a 4-year-old child, a 25-year-old man at the peak of his vitality, and a 55-year-old woman going through menopause are going to be very different.

Combine this with the standard American diet (SAD) — filled with processed foods, high amounts of sugar and dangerous toxins — and our country isn’t getting enough of the vitamins and minerals we need to live a healthy and vibrant life.

Here are some of the major nutrients Americans aren’t getting enough of and the danger these deficiencies can cause.

Vitamin D

It is estimated that up to 85% of Americans have insufficient levels of vitamin D.

Virtually every tissue type in your body has receptors for vitamin D. In other words, they all require vitamin D to work properly.

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of numerous chronic disorders. These include Type II diabetes, cancer, infections and cardiovascular, autoimmune and neurological diseases

The best way to get adequate amounts of vitamin D is by spending time in the sunlight, where your skin naturally converts the sun’s rays into vitamin D in the body.

But in our hectic society, most of us don’t spend enough time in the sun on a daily basis — especially those who live in parts of the country with colder climates during parts of the year.

Vitamin D levels can be increased through diet, but not nearly enough to accommodate insufficient sunlight exposure. Plant-based vitamin D is actually a form a vitamin D called D2 … and it isn’t metabolized by the body very well.

Related story: The Little-Known Vitamin Essential to Your Health

Animal-based vitamin D is known as vitamin D3 and is a more-beneficial form. But like I said, dietary vitamin D is rarely able to raise levels in the body enough to achieve optimal levels.

Vitamin D3 supplements are next-best option. They have become one of the few supplements agreed upon by doctors that the average American should consider taking.


Even more deficient than vitamin D, potassium is estimated to only be consumed in optimal amounts by just 4.7% of Americans.

Basically, we could all use more potassium. But this doesn’t just mean eating more bananas.

Related story: Why Spirulina May be the Planet’s Most-Nutritious Food

Potassium’s primary functions in the body include building muscle, synthesizing proteins, controlling the electrical activity of the heart and maintaining acid-base balance.

Potassium is needed for maintenance of body fluid volume, keeping electrolytes in balance and ensuring normal cell function.

Low potassium generally causes a sense of weakness and malaise. Someone deficient in potassium will experience tiredness, muscle cramps and overall whole-body weakness.

Palpitations and an irregular heartbeat can occur, but extremely low levels of potassium can result in more serious electrical-conduction problems in the heart.

Eating foods high in potassium is the most-effective way to make sure you’re getting enough of this vital nutrient. Foods highest in potassium include …

  Swiss chard (1 cup = 1g of potassium)

  Winter squash (1 cup = 1g)

  Avocado (1/2 Florida variety = 0.8g)

  Dried apricots (1/2 cup = 0.9)

  Baked potato (1 large = 0.9g)

Other foods rich in potassium include bananas, oranges, carrots, avocados, kiwi, dried figs, tomatoes, spinach, seaweed and beans.


The mineral magnesium is abundant in healthy bodies. It’s stored in our organs and bones, and used in over 300 enzymatic processes.

Enzymes are proteins that speed up processes and reactions in our bodies. Without them, these actions may not get completed.

This includes your body turning food into energy. It’s also vital for proper transcription of DNA and RNA.

Yet, dietary intake of magnesium has gone down dramatically over the past 100 years. It is estimated that 68% to 80% of Americans are magnesium-deficient.

Related story: 300 Reasons to Take Magnesium (Your life may depend on it!)

Although it’s considered an "invisible deficiency," low magnesium levels can manifest in a variety of ways like heart palpitations, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea and migraines.

These may be indicative of bigger health issues like heart disease, diabetes, asthma and anxiety disorders.

Foods high in magnesium include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, dark chocolate and more.

In addition to these three vitamins and minerals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that eight out of 10 Americans are deficient in vitamin E … seven out of 10 are deficient in calcium … and 50% of Americans are deficient in vitamins A and C.

As obesity rates and healthcare costs reach new highs every year, it’s vital we solve this nutrient deficiency crisis in America.

You can see the challenge in the current one-size-fits-most nutritional labeling approach. But learning your own unique nutritional needs is the first step to meeting them. And fortunately, there are many delicious ways available to start doing just that.

Happy and healthy investing,

Brad Hoppmann


Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “There’s a nutrient deficiency crisis in America”

  1. Well said. I live in Australia where we have the same problem – too much of the Big 4 S’s in our diet (Sugar, Salt, Saturates and Starch) and not enough Vitamins and Minerals. I managed to reverse my lupus, osteoporosis and arthritis by reducing my body inflammation through better nutrition and natural supplements. The biotechnology revolution is coming by preventing disease rather than just fixing it after it has set in. Keep on writing about this.

  2. I’d like to see what quantaties you think are best for these vitamins and minerals. If no quatities are mentined no one can know whether they are getting enough or not, or even too much. There are big debates on Vit D e.g. Some say no more than 1,000 iu per day ohters say you need up to 5,000 -7,000 iu a day. Still others insist 1,000 every day would be cause for kidney damage. Who’s right?

  3. Brad. Look into the relationship between sodium and potassium. It is a bit like gold and the dollar. Also look at the relationship between ATP and magnesium and you will see why magnesium ( magnesium sulfate ) is so important.

  4. As a long time user of Standard Process of Wisconsin, I have been satisfied with their product and best spokesperson, Bruce West, DC. Their products, now including herbal pills, are usually part of a chiropractors practice. The problem I have is that there are no equivalences made to the vitamins themselves in their publications. How much of each mineral or vitamin, etc. is provided per pill? Personally I started their products post coronary and immediately noted I could climb stairs without loosing my breath. This has continued for 25 years. My wife had two separate breast episodes of breast cancer and began taking Bruce West’s consultant’s recommendations post second surgery and has not had a recurrence in about a decade. Thank you for allowing me to bring this to your attention.

  5. Brad,
    Great article highlighting how poor the average American’s diet is. The key is more awareness of the need for the proper type and amount of vitamins, minerals and other “nutriceuticals”. Of course, the mainstream media is “driven” to focus on pharmaceuticals and NOT nutriceuticals….

  6. Harnessing enough sunshine is easier with SunFriend, the only new technology approved by the Vitamin D Council for optimizing vitamin D levels. Great for the whole family! Fun to use for kids.

  7. Too bad the masses don’t demand food grown in nutrient rich soils (free of pesticides) which is regularly rotated, and ground that lays fallow every seven years to restore the soil’s microbial balance.

    Great book folks might enjoy. . .”The Empty Harvest” by: Dr. Bernard Jensen that explains one of the myriad (albeit, one of the biggest) reasons we suffer so many chronic health problems today.

    Thanks Brad for another good read.

  8. So many to mention: B’s, especially B-12, Iodine deficiency is little known yet causes low IQ along with low D increases risk for the cancers. Google “iodine breast cancer” go to amazon and search “iodine deficiency”.

  9. GMO, r SBT. These are some of the main culprits when it comes to messing up our nutrient intake and our body’s ability to process the nutrients, and be able to combat disease and inflammation. We are all part of an experiment at the expense of the FDA and big chemical companies like Monsanto. GMO’s and hormones such as rSBT are outlawed in the European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia, and other countries. However, our government (the FDA) has been deceiving the public that there isn’t anything wrong with food that has been altered by science. Lobbying groups for the companies that manufacture GMO, rSBT, as well as harmful herbicides like Roundup have a lot of support from these companies because they have very deep pockets. And the FDA itself is infiltrated with former employees of Monsanto and other chemical and “food” companies. But, all is not lost. Raise your own food. Buy only organic (when necessary), and don’t invest in these companies. Be careful when you eat away from home. Just a few thoughts. This is really only the tip of the iceberg as to what needs to be addressed.

  10. Thank you for writing about this very important topic. I am about to publish a children’s book called “Phyto the Friendly Firefighter” to educate children and their parents about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables where we get most of our phyto nutrients. You can not get the thousands of phyto nutrients in a vitamin supplement. I am also a big fan of Juice Plus (fruits and veggies in a capsule and their Complete protein drink) and the Tower Garden (aeroponic gardening) I agree this is not a one size fits all and although I rep for Juice Plus, I’m also an advocate for people to get a thorough blood test that a qualified health care professional with a nutrition background can review.

    There is a lot of companies out there selling their supplements but no one comes close to the amount of Gold Standard Research that Juice Plus has conducted over 30 years.

    *Juice Plus now has 37 studies published in peer reviewed medical journals that are all ranked in the top tier of any published medical journals.

  11. There is actually a professional that is able to test your mineral levels and imbalances and provide you with a guide for proper nutrition, supplements and lifestyle recommendations. Over time this restores the proper balance of nutrients and minerals in the body. Periodic retesting confirms your improvement and allows your program to be adjusted as you progress. After years of working in an office I quit my day-job to become a nutritional balancing practitioner.

  12. Whistling in the dark guys. Best that you log onto and actually take control of yourself. You may even discover a co-enzyme that will actually reverse you aging process which, by the way, is not really ageing but another example of declining nutrients.

  13. I’ve been going to the same naturopathic doctor for about 25 year and have never been sick in that time with the exception of the odd cold or flu or spots injury.One day I asked him why his desk and office was always over run with different minerals and vitamins he replied that he formulated them for this company Progressive and that his agreement with them was that he would test ever batch to be sure it contained the ingredients in the amount stated on the label, as his name and photo are on each label. Apparently he had formulated for other companies and found after a while some companies would change the quality of the contents and percentage of the ingredients, lowering the effectiveness. He doesn’t recommend any prescriptions where he hasn’t checked the quality.

  14. I take food supplements and recommend them, but there are some issues with them. First it is a huge industry and highly unregulated compared to the pharmaceutical industry. You don’t know if a tablet actually contains the advertised amount on the label, or in the best form for the body to use, or even if it completely dissolves in your system. There is no oversight on the studies done, if any, on any specific brand or formula. There is no professional that I’m aware of that you can go to who can test you to determine your individual need at a given point in time. Therefore we take more than we need of some things that just flushes through our system and not enough of another. It is an industry that could be much larger than it is if it took steps to move it from a cult following to a mainstream business.

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